Today’s post is sponsored by MightyNest, a service that lets you support your school while purchasing healthier products for your kitchen, your home, and your kids’ backpacks.
If you’ve been reading here long, you know that for the last few years I’ve been making a concerted effort to consistently pack lunches for my kids to take to school.
I’m not always perfect – I fall off the wagon at some point most years, and I definitely rely a lot on repetition to simplify the process – but this year I’ve strengthened my commitment to making a home-packed lunch for every kid, every single day, for three major reasons:
- It’s just better food. Yes, school officials and outside organizations are making a big effort to make school lunches better, and I’ve seen some improvement. But Clara is a picky eater, and I know she would not be taking advantage of the salad bar or eating the green beans on her tray. And my teenagers? They both have a la carte lunch lines, and I know only too well how easy it is to fill up on nothing but (expensive) junk at that age. By packing lunches myself, I can make sure the kids all have access to healthy food they actually like and will eat.
- Less waste. One of the things that irks me the most about school lunch is all the throwaway packaging and trays, not to mention the wasted food! Packing our own lunches at home lets us cut down on waste by using mostly reusable containers and only packing food I know they’ll eat. Plus, the kids can bring home any leftovers, which often becomes their after-school snack. I’m not militant about it – we do pack the occasional pre-packaged snacks and juice boxes, and I often use those ultra-thin sandwich bags, (150 fit in a small box so I’m not as concerned about the plastic waste as I would be with the bigger, beefier zip-style bags.) Nobody is perfect, but small changes add up over the course of a year…particularly when you’re multiplying several lunches by 180+ school days.
- The expense. Wow. To buy all five of my kids school lunch every day would cost us $65 per week (over the course of the school year, that adds up to about $2600!) That’s a big chunk of our grocery bill – and I know I can make healthy lunches at home for about half that.